Appropriate Goals for Children With Behavioral Problems

When children require behavioral interventions in educational or mental health settings, practitioners will typically create a plan to address and improve the child's behavior 1. Goals for treatment for children often include compliance with rules, managing anger and learning to respect authority. Children, parents, teachers and mental health workers typically collaborate to create a behavior intervention or individual treatment plan, and address the child's strengths along with a strategy to eliminate negative behaviors.


Children with behavior problems often have difficulties following directions and being compliant in school and at home 1. Setting a goal to work on teaching a child how to be compliant and the consequences of noncompliance is appropriate for a behavior intervention or treatment plan 1. It's also important, however, to identify biological, environmental or developmental barriers to compliance, according to the Learning Disabilities Association of America's mental health committee, and to design effective behavior intervention strategies with those barriers in mind.

Anger Management

Troubling behavior displayed by children is often influenced by anger. Children who get into physical fights with others and have explosive temper tantrums need to learn appropriate ways to manage their anger. Goals and objectives for a behavior intervention or individualized treatment plan include teaching the child new ways to handle anger when it arises, such as deep-breathing techniques or playing independently until the child has calmed down 2.

Coping Skills Development

It's vital to include objectives designed to teach a child effective ways to cope with difficult emotions and circumstances. Parents, teachers and other prominent figures in a child's life model effective coping skills for children daily, and can use common experiences of conflict and disappointment to teach children how to cope. When a child has tools that he can use to deal with challenging circumstances, the likelihood that he will make better behavioral choices is increased.

Respect for Authority Figures

Dr. Bruce Duncan Perry, an authority on brain development and children in crises, suggests that respect for authority figures is closely associated with a child's positive sense of self-respect, according to 3. Perry states that when a child learns to see the value in herself, she will be able to recognize the value in others. Goals for a behavior intervention or individualized treatment plan could be to help a child develop self-respect, and to learn the value in showing respect to others, including authority figures 12.

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